Michels & Lundquist Funeral Home
Waneta E. Ellis
posted on 9/23/16
This is the eulogy that I read during the service for my Dad. David, Gary's son, also read a eulogy. The funeral was followed by a service at Bushnell National Cemetery where was given full military honors and where he was laid to rest.
On behalf of my family I want to thank everyone for being here and honoring Gary. I also want to thank everyone on for the support they have offered over the past very difficult days and weeks. Your kind words and thoughtful actions have made a difference. Writing this eulogy was quite honestly the hardest thing I have ever had to do and I will ask you to bear with me because I have a feeling reading it will prove to be harder than writing it. I was told that the more I practiced it and the more times I read through it, it would be easier when the time came. It isn’t easier.
25 years ago, when I was 12 years old, I gained a father. On September 18, 2016, I lost my father. Those dates aren’t the important moments though. The important moments for me are the moments that happened in between those two dates. It’s all the times me and my best friend Kelly crammed into the front seat of Gary’s 280ZX t-top sports car and begged him to take us to school or basically anywhere. And he did….every time. It’s the time that Gary had to leave work to come get me because I wrecked my car while I was skipping school, it’s the time that Gary stood beside my Mom and proudly watched me graduate from law school. It’s all the times that he gave me advice from everything to dating to owning a business. It’s every Christmas morning waiting, rather impatiently, for Gary to unwrap his presents one piece of scotch tape at a time. It’s the times a moody teenager was forced to sit in a restaurant for hours just so her Dad could enjoy a few more cups of coffee. It’s all the doors I never had to open because my Dad was a true gentleman who always got there first. It’s seeing the pride on my dads face when I told him that I broke up with my first boyfriend because he didn’t open my car door for me.
It’s not just those moments though that make me a lucky woman. When my mom met Gary he was a content bachelor. Happily living on his own, driving a sports car without a care in the world. He had raised his children and was now living life as he wanted to live it and made no apologies. That all changed when my Mom and I moved in. Gary still drove the sports car for a while before he traded it in for a mini-van. He still lived his life as he wanted to live it, only this time he had his wife and his daughter along for the ride. Gary and I shared a special bond which was only made more special as I got older and realized how lucky I was that my Dad had a choice, and he chose to be my Dad. He chose to be my dad even when I didn’t make it easy. He chose to be my dad even when I’m pretty sure they expected to be bailing me out of jail not celebrating a college degree. He chose to be my Dad when I ran away from home for some imagined slight. He chose to be my Dad each and every day for the last 25 years and I chose him right back.
My dad was a very special man and I am glad that you are all here today with us to honor him and his extraordinary life. He was so proud of his days in the Air Force, yet he was also the most humble man I have ever met. It was until the last few days as we were preparing to lay him to rest that I discovered that my father was the recipient of a commendation medal for his efforts in the Vietnam War. I found a book that he had filed away that contained award after award for his military service. Yet he rarely spoke of those days, and instead simply told me everything I could ever want to know (and then some) about all the planes he got to see and work on during his time with the Air Force. I will always wish that I had more time with him, but I am so thankful for all the years I did have. He made me into the woman I am today, and I know how proud of me he was. I will continue to make my dad proud, and I will continue to choose him and love him and miss him for all the days of my life. I will forever remain strong in my beliefs, honorable in my actions and my word will be my bond, because that’s what my Dad taught me.
I would like to read you one of my favorite bible versus, which also happens to be appropriate for today. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
You may not know that September 18, 1947 was the official birth date of the United States Air Force, meaning that Gary passed away on the 69th birthday of the Air Force. I thought it would be appropriate to end my eulogy with the Air Force Motto. So Gary, one last time…
posted on 9/21/16
I am so sorry to hear of the passing of Gary. I worked with him 35 years ago at ServiceMaster and I remember him fondly. His hard work and attention to detail were admired. He always had a kind word for other people and he left a lasting impression on those he met.
Donna Ellis Jones
posted on 9/21/16
Cathy and family. We are so sorry for your loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all.
posted on 9/21/16
Cathy and family I will always Remer gary and our trips to Disney we would sit out the rides while you all went on our talks were priceless may you know you are in my thoughts and prayers.
Gary telling me to move my skinny butt over on the train at Disney so he could sit next to me love you gary
posted on 9/21/16
Really didn't get to know him all that well but I do know he made my sister happy
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